sailing a catamaran

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I will be renting a Cat this summer and it will be my first time sailing one. Is there anything I need to do differently than I do already on my monohull?
 

Halcyon Yachts

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One of the main differences when sailing a catamaran is that you should use the traveller when trimming the mainsail rather than the mainsheet. A monohull will have a vang or kicker to keep the boom down, on a cat the mainsheet does this and then the traveller is used to adjust the angle of the sail.

Manoeuvring under engine also requires a bit of getting used to. If it’s your first time with twin props then try and have a practice in open water using them in opposite directions to spin the boat around. They tend to have a lot more windage than monohulls, so it will be more challenging in a blow.

Pete
 

RichardS

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One of the main differences when sailing a catamaran is that you should use the traveller when trimming the mainsail rather than the mainsheet. A monohull will have a vang or kicker to keep the boom down, on a cat the mainsheet does this and then the traveller is used to adjust the angle of the sail.

Manoeuvring under engine also requires a bit of getting used to. If it’s your first time with twin props then try and have a practice in open water using them in opposite directions to spin the boat around. They tend to have a lot more windage than monohulls, so it will be more challenging in a blow.

Pete

Our cat has a piston vang so the actual sail adjustment is not too different from a monohull.

The biggest difference I found is when tacking. The increased windage means that the cat is harder to tack than a monohull and if you do not get the timing exactly right, and are not carrying a decent speed, it's easy to find oneself either blowing back onto the original tack or ending up in irons. The traditional method of overcoming this is to allow the foresail to back and help blow the bows across which does do the trick until you get used to getting the timing right.

One other thing .... the helm is usually set to one side of the boat so visibility past the foresail can be very poor if you are on the "wrong" side. In that case remember to duck down and take a regular sighting of the blind spot. You may need to take a long walk (by monohull standards) to the other side of the boat. :)

Richard
 
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Birdseye

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As an ex cat owner of many years I agree with much of what is written above, even the bit about motorsailing into a chop upwind. Depends on the boat of course but I am assuming a cruising cat.

So:
1/ you need speed to tack because light weight and high windage means you lose speed much quicker than in a mono. If you do cock up be prepared to reverse the rudder as you get blown back wards onto the correct tack.
2/ mooring up particularly in a breeze requires decisive action. You lose way fast so its much more a case of approaching at speed and reversing hard when you get there.
3/ Far less sign of the boat being overloaded by the breeze. Reef to the anenometer and not the the degree of heel.
4/ I ran aground in my cat way more times than I have ever done in a mono - the reason being I always had fixed in my mind that she had damn all daft.
5/ keep weight out of the boat. The difference between full and empty water tanks on my boat was 3/4 kn.
6/ anchor using a bridle or you will dance about.
 

capnsensible

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I reckon if you are on a charter cat and want to tack, simply stick the downwind engine on for a minute or two and drive it through. Easy.

Great fun too manoeuvring around marinas with two engines. Very helpful on windy days.

Enjoy!
 

RichardS

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Keep windward hull just out of the water perhaps, somewhere there is a great video showing a daz cat racing in Plymouth sound flying a hull from a couple of weeks ago. Here's one reefed https://www.facebook.com/Multihullcentre/videos/vl.472359546451097/2348036651880066/?type=1

A Dazcat will lift a hull but my cat is set up so that the mast will probably snap before it lifts a hull .... and hence the advice above about reefing to the gusts and watching the wind speed. :)

Richard
 

Neeves

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I reckon if you are on a charter cat and want to tack, simply stick the downwind engine on for a minute or two and drive it through. Easy.

Great fun too manoeuvring around marinas with two engines. Very helpful on windy days.


Enjoy!

+1

We have had our cat for 20 years - in big seas we still tack and gybe with one engine running.

Cats sparkle when sailing off the wind, they can be dogs hard to windward (in big seas in any wind) and dead downwind. If you have the option - try to plan so that you reach. If you need to sail downwind (don't sail dead downwind).

Its all easier than we imply.

Jonathan
 

RichardS

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+1

We have had our cat for 20 years - in big seas we still tack and gybe with one engine running.

Cats sparkle when sailing off the wind, they can be dogs hard to windward (in big seas in any wind) and dead downwind. If you have the option - try to plan so that you reach. If you need to sail downwind (don't sail dead downwind).

Its all easier than we imply.

Jonathan

Although poling out the foresail (which we do) or flying a spinny (which we don't) will ensure that the cat flies downwind as well. :)

Richard
 

Neeves

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Although poling out the foresail (which we do) or flying a spinny (which we don't) will ensure that the cat flies downwind as well. :)

Richard

Sadly we don't have a pole, nor a fitting on the mast for a pole. :(

We do find we are a bit nervous sailing dead downwind of fear of an accidental gybe down a big wave (we can have big seas in the Tasman) - so prefer sailing off the wind and then intentionally gybing.

Jonathan
 
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